Social media showcases distance between CJ and Titans, adds to divide with fans

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:38pm

Much of the appeal of Twitter and other social media websites is that they make the world seem much smaller than it actually is.

Wednesday evening, though, nothing better illustrated the distance that has existed between the Tennessee Titans and running back Chris Johnson for more than a month now, since the end of NFL lockout and the resumption of league business.

Not long after several Titans tweeted about going out on Bourbon Street and dining on the likes of alligator on the eve of their final preseason game — they play the Saints, 7 p.m. Thursday at the Superdome — Johnson let the world know his whereabouts.

“In Orlando downtown at the chophouse with [agent] Joel [Segal] talking business over dinner,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

Hours earlier, he used the same medium to make it known he had no plans to eat crow.

Johnson has been the Titans’ leading headline maker during the preseason by virtue of his separation from his team and teammates. His desire to renegotiate his contract has led him to stage a holdout, which now threatens his availability for the start of the regular season, which for the Titans is Sept. 11 at Jacksonville.

He generated even more discussion and even some vitriol earlier Wednesday when he responded to negative tweets.

“Can these fake Titan fans STFU on my timeline I don't have a regular job so don't compare me to you and I can care less if uthink I'm greedy,” he wrote.

Within an hour, the reaction to that posting prompted a second: “If you was a real fan my tweet would not bother you it only make the fake fans upset.”

Quickly it became a national story and unfailing fodder on the newly crowded local sports talk radio scene.

Ever defiant, Johnson tried one more time to explain himself rather than offer any sort of apology.

“My titan fans taking it all wrong I'm talking to the ones writing me racist Comments. I'm not call the Titan fans fake at all. #LUV,” he wrote.

Johnson has strengthened his appeal throughout the first three years of his NFL career through his willingness to engage the fans through social media. His Twitter followers number well over 400,000.

If he thought he could strengthen his case for a new contract in the court of public opinion with his Wednesday offerings, though, he erred greatly.

Fans use social media to establish some measure of common ground with their athletic heroes. Johnson’s assertion that folks had no business comparing their own situations to his only served to drive a wedge between him and even some of his loyal supporters.

The only way now to bridge that distance is to put himself in the same place as the rest of the Titans — on the field.

Even one of his teammates suggested as much on Twitter about an hour after Johnson made his dinner plans known.

“tell Joel hello,” Cortland Finnegan wrote on his Twitter page. “Man can't wait to have you back in locker room I'm using yours now smh.”

5 Comments on this post:

By: fdanshep on 9/1/11 at 7:38

Typical. He says something stupid and then pulls the Race Card. If he was upset about some ignorant people making racist comments why didn't he adress it initially?

I hope he is on the team because I think he gives the Titans a better chance to win and I am paying hard earned cash to go out there. But as a person I couldn't care less; maybe he is a "Fake Titan"!

Let's get 4-5 years out of him and shuffle him on back to Orlando.

By: tafjr19@aol.com on 9/1/11 at 8:10

I don't like saying it, but maybe it's time for CJ to take a vacation. If the argument really is between 10 million per year on the one side and 13 million on the other then CJ needs to decide if he really wants to play or not. With fines mounting and threatening to wipe out his entire salary under the present contract, how would he like not to play this year and not making a dime just because he can't agree to 10 million a year? It's a rebuilding year for us and nothing more and if we had three CJs, it would still just be a rebuiding year for us.
Let him take the year off. He won't make a dime (after fines) and let him spend the year moaning/groaning over the ten million he left on the table.

By: fdanshep on 9/1/11 at 8:30

Tafjr,

If the Titans were to do that I wouldn't complain but there are many out there who would accuse the Titans of being historically tight. You are right- I suspect he might make a difference in maybe 2-3 games where we will a game that otherwise we would have lost without him. But those two wins may get us into the PLAYOFFS.I know-"PLAYOFFS, WHAT PLAYOFFS"??!! Last year he was basically a "high light" back with a lot of yards but not a game changer. I suspect that for the most part that will continue this year.

By: GUARDIAN on 9/1/11 at 11:27

GUARDIAN - Running backs don't last many years and he has been working for less than ALL others in the league that are in his skill level. It is normal for a running back to change his contract after he has proved his worth to the team. Pay him a top running backs pay or trade him off. NOW

By: not_guilty on 9/1/11 at 12:18

If Goldteeth wants to sit out the season, let him sit. It's not like he can sell his services to a competing team.

There are two ways for a player to add value to a team. One is to put backsides in seats on game day. The stadium here has sold out every regular season game since it was built.

The other way for a player to add value is to help the team win games and make the playoffs. The last winning season the Titans had was CJ's rookie year, when there were two 1,000 yard backs in the backfield.

Having to work for a living at a regular job just might do wonders for Goldteeth's attitude. Even Pac-child Jones eventually got a haircut!